Chang named ABN Amro's Asia commodities chief

Jacqueline Chang appointed to newly created role as part of a global expansion despite other banks pulling back from commodities.

ABN Amro has appointed Jacqueline Chang to head its commodities operations in Asia as the Dutch bank presses ahead with its global expansion of the business just as other banks look to pull back.

In her newly created position as regional head of commodities Asia, Chang will oversee ABN Amro's Hong Kong commodities desk and the regional structured inventory product desk in Singapore, as well as keep her existing responsibilities as head of commodities Singapore.

She will continue to be based in Singapore and report to Jan-Maarten Mulder, global head of commodities, and Maureen DeRooij, chief executive Asia large corporates and merchant banking.

“Jacqueline’s deep experience of the Asian commodities business, coupled with her strong relationships with commodity players across the supply value chain, make her the ideal candidate to drive and grow our regional business,” Mulder said in a statement.

Chang's promotion comes at a time when ABN Amro is beefing up its commodities business, having appointed Mulder in September to the newly created position of global commodities head.

ABN Amro said in October that it wanted to double the revenues earned by its commodities business by 2017. According to media reports, the bank is also intent on expanding staff numbers.

Mixed outlook

Still, the outlook for the commodities industry is a muddied picture due to tighter regulation, tougher capital requirements for banks and the pall cast by China's economic slowdown.

Whereas the Dutch bank joins the likes of Macquarie Group, Standard Chartered and Goldman Sachs in maintaining a focus on commodities, other banks have signalled they will cut back, including JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank. Barclays, meanwhile, is expected this week to announce that it will wind down large parts of its global commodities business.

In 2013, the world’s top 10 banks -- ABN Amro not among them -- collectively reduced their commodities staff to the lowest level for at least five years, according to research by Coalition, the market analytics group. Coalition, in another report, stated that commodities revenue from the same banks dropped 18% last year due to weak investor interest and low volatility.

China, the world’s largest importer of many commodities, is providing further uncertainty for the industry due to its economic slowdown. The OECD on Tuesday forecast 7.4% growth for 2014, down from its 8.2% November forecast. That said, the IMF said last month that Chinese commodities demand had not peaked and would merely shift emphasis.

Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials, a barometer of commodities activity and a broader economic indicator, has risen 4.64% this year, according to Bloomberg data.


Chang has more than 20 years experience of commodity financing, joining Fortis Bank in 2001 as head of commodities Singapore, before the bank merged with ABN Amro in 2010. In this role she was responsible for the commercial and operational activities of the agriculture, energy and metals commodities teams.

She rebuilt and built out the bank’s Asian commodities franchise and her expanded role is symbolic of the business’s expansion, DeRooij said in a statement.

The commodities business falls under ABN’s energy, commodities and transportation (ECT) business. It provides banking services to clients in sectors such as commodity finance, shipping, agriculture, oil and gas, and offshore oil services.

The division has offices in key markets globally, including Dubai, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York and Shanghai.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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